On Monday, after a report in The New York Times that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation in 2017 to ascertain whether President Donald Trump was working for Russia and against the United States, he stood in front of reporters and denied it.
"I never worked for Russia," Trump said, adding: "And you know that answer better than anybody. Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it's a disgrace that you even asked that question because it's a whole big fat hoax."
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Government and public administration
Political Figures - US
Russia meddling investigation
Which, in and of itself, is insane. A President of the United States forced to deny, on the record, that he was a Russian agent? I mean, b-a-n-a-n-a-s.
But that craziness aside, it's worth noting what Trump's quote gets flat wrong. I take no issue with his denial of working on behalf of Russia. What I do have a problem with is his description of the ongoing special counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election as a "whole big fat hoax."
That is demonstrably false. And, I'll prove it -- in just five numbers: 192, 36, 7, 4 and 1.
* 192 is the number of overall criminal counts brought by Mueller's team to date
* 36 is the number of people and entities charged in the Mueller probe
* 7 is the number of people who have pleaded guilty in the investigation
* 4 is the number of people who have been sentenced to jail for their wrongdoing unearthed by Mueller
* 1 is the person (Paul Manafort) who was convicted of crimes sniffed out by Mueller's team
And reminder: The Mueller probe isn't over yet. And no one -- up to and including Trump -- knows what Mueller knows and, more importantly, what he can prove.
The Point: Every time the President -- or one of his White House allies -- labels what Mueller is doing as a hoax, remember these numbers. It probably won't shut them up -- but it should.
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